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Maldives Must Respect its Commitment to Protect the Independence of Lawyers

The UIA has learned about the recent, immediate and unwarranted suspension of more than one third of the Maldives Bar Association members, and is profoundly concerned by the situation.

Last Monday, September 11, 2017, the Maldives authorities indefinitely suspended 56 lawyers, charging them with contempt of court. The indefinite suspensions were announced hours after the lawyers submitted a petition to the Attorney General expressing concern that courts were conducting cases in disregard of the Rule of Law.  

Last June the Maldives adopted a UN Human Rights Council resolution recalling the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, expressing deep concern about the significant number of attacks against lawyers as well as unlawful interference with the independent practice of their profession, and highlighting the necessity to protect lawyers against attack.

Today, the Maldives’ authorities must immediately comply with their commitments and take all necessary measures, as required by the separation of powers, to revoke the suspension order against the 56 lawyers, respecting and protecting the immunity of lawyers in the exercise of their functions. The government of the Maldives must safeguard the development of the legal profession and ensure that present or future actions that impact the exercise of the legal profession are consistent with the Maldives’ international obligations under international human rights law, including with respect to the rights of lawyers and the independence of the legal profession.  



For full press release, please download the PDF below.



UIA_PR_Maldives_Suspended_Lawyers_170914_EN.pdf97.71 KB

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